NEW DELHI: The Union cabinet — chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — on Wednesday announced landmark decisions to boost infrastructure across various sectors of the economy amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the key decisions taken by the cabinet:
* Rs 15,000 crore for Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund
The fund would incentivise infrastructure investments in dairy, meat processing and animal feed plants. It will provide interest subvention of up to 3 per cent to private players for setting up of dairy, poultry and meat processing units.
The eligible beneficiaries would be farmer producer organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, section 8 companies, private companies and individual entrepreneur with only 10% margin money contribution by them. The balance 90% would be the loan component to be made available to them by scheduled banks.
It will be open to all and will help in increasing milk production, boost exports and create 35 lakh jobs in the country.
Animal husbandry minister Giriraj Singh said that the new infrastructure fund is part of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package announced to help those affected due to the lockdown clamped to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “For the first time, we will give interest subvention up to 3 per cent to private players for setting up of processing infrastructure for dairy, poultry and meat,” he added.
The fund with the interest subvention scheme for private investors will ensure availability of capital to meet upfront investment required for these projects and also help enhance overall returns/ pay back for investors. Such investments in processing and value addition infrastructure by eligible beneficiaries would also promote exports.
* Kushinagar airport declared as an international airport
The cabinet approved the proposal to declare Kushinagar airport in Uttar Pradesh as an international airport, stating that it will offer improved connectivity to the important Buddhist pilgrimage site.
Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Gautama Buddha attained ‘Mahaparinirvana’ after his death. The “Buddhist Circuit” is a key pilgrimage destination for 530 million practicing Buddhists across the globe, the government said in an official statement.
“You know that Kushinagar is the mid-point of the Buddhist circuit. It has pilgrimage sites in Lumbini, Shravasti, Kapilvastu nearby it. A little farther, it has sites in Sarnath and Gaya,” Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar said.
Direct international connectivity to Kushinagar would substantially increase the number of foreigners and domestic tourists visiting Kushinagar, which will also provide impetus to economic development of the region. The international airport is expected to boost the already growing tourism and hospitality ecosystem in the country.
* Additional investment for further development of Shwe oil and gas project in Myanmar
As part of the government’s Act East Policy, the Union cabinet approved additional investment worth Rs 909 crore by ONGC Videsh Ltd towards further development of Shwe oil and gas project in Myanmar.
The participation of Indian PSUs in oil and gas exploration and development projects in neighbouring countries is also part of India’s strategy to develop energy bridges with them, in addition to further strengthening its energy security needs.